Study: Cannabinoids Are Safe, Effective For Pain Treatment

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 17, 2015

    pain_reliefCannabinoids are safe and effective for the treatment of chronic pain, according to the results of a systematic review of randomized controlled trials published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.

    Investigators from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and McGill University in Montreal evaluated the results of 11 placebo-controlled trials conducted between the years 2010 and 2014. Trials assessed the use of various types of cannabinoid preparations, including herbal cannabis, liquid and oral cannabis extracts, and nabilone (a synthetic analog of THC), in pain treatment.

    Cannabinoids possessed “significant analgesic effects” and were “well tolerated” in the majority of studies reviewed.

    Authors concluded, “The current systematic review provides further support that cannabinoids are safe, demonstrate a modest analgesic effect and provide a reasonable treatment option for treatment chronic non-cancer pain.”

    A 2011 review of 18 separate randomized trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of cannabinoids for pain management similarly reported, “[C]annabinoids are a modestly effective and safe treatment option for chronic non-cancer (predominantly neuropathic) pain.”

    In September, Canadian researchers reported that pain patients who consumed herbal cannabis daily for one-year experienced decreased analgesia and no increase in serious adverse side effects compared to matched controls.

    An abstract of the study, “Cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain: An updated systematic review of randomized controlled trials,” appears online here.

    24 responses to “Study: Cannabinoids Are Safe, Effective For Pain Treatment”

    1. Ben says:

      “…support that cannabinoids are safe…”

      “… provide a reasonable treatment option for treatment chronic non-cancer pain.”

      No shit.

      Thousands of Americans have known, and been saying, this for DECADES.

      Time for our leaders to get on the train,
      even the medical scientists, though hindered by our failed policies, are catching on.

      Forget the CSA classification II, (aka cocaine)

      Time for America to TAKE CONTROL of itself.

    2. Raven says:

      Well, how about that, Rosenberg? The jokes just keep. Put that one in your DEA pipe and toke.

    3. Ivan says:

      @ Ben
      I agree with your comment all the way! I support Marijuana because of its multi-medicinal qualities and zero side effects! I also support Marijuana for recreational use because Marijuana is a non-toxic plant which is a Million times safer than alcohol and tobacco combined! With that being said, We need to completely remove Marijuana from the US Federal Controlled Substances Act!

    4. Julian says:

      While the evidence of marijuana’s medical efficacy mounts up, so is Congressional review of DEA director Rosenberg and his recent comment that medicinal marijuana is a “joke.” Check out Rep. Bleumenhower on CSpan rip’m a new one;


      I cant help but say that it doesnt matter how many heads of the hydra we cut off during the climax of this American Marijuana Tragedy, firing DEA directors is like chopping cactus without pulling the roots out, and the roots of this tragedy are the Controlled Substances Act itself.

    5. mexweed says:

      Rather than the fulsomely advertised Quick Relief you are urged to buy from the drug companies this article connects cannabis with “PAIN MANAGEMENT”.

      In our society and epoch a goodly percentage of the pain is associated with Metabolic Syndrome (see Paul’s other story this week how cannabis reduces that), like, the strain of lugging the bellyfat around with you etc.

      My guess how cannabis helps reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, abdominal fat, etc., etc. is that it encourages (“Inspires”) the body to do various wondrous adventurous metabolisms and exercises which are at once good work and great pain management.

      “Munchies?” Maybe if you choose good food, not HFCSjunk, the prior tokes of cannabis will help you ENJOY CHEWING real food long enough to introduce Nature’s Most Intelligent Substance, Saliva, to EVERY MOLECULE of food so that with the help of Good Bacteria you will digest it for energy not storage. Well think what a resurgence of understanding for chewing real food will do to the huckster corplords who market HFCS chewing gum and bubble gum, sugar pop and other here,quickgulpculture.

      I personally after a toke take nothing but water the first hour, maybe tenminutechew one piece of orange or melon (digest all that calcium!) during second hour, maybe more slight intake and long chew fruitveg during next two hours (Anti-Fascist Hash Fast, Our Four Hour Tour).

      Pain? Me? Bought one $15 bottle of glucosamine for since-beaten arthritis in 2001, otherwise zero medication or medical service expenditures since 1973.

    6. Miles says:

      @Ivan – Actually there are side effects when using cannabis for various ailments like pain. However, unlike the stuff manufactured by big pharma the side effect is something that most people like (e.g. relaxation, a feeling of peace, increased appetite, and even a feeling of forgiveness… to name a few).

      Could it be those side effects that the haters hate so much?

    7. Ben says:

      At this point, while public opinion has crossed the theoretically critical point where greater than 50% of surveyed citizens are in favor or DEFINITIVELY improving our handling of cannabis-
      our leaders aren’t getting it, (or at least, the system is stuck in gear, and seems not to OFFICIALLY budge.)

      Therefore, I submit to you, my fellow Americans:

      If you, or someone you know, partakes of cannabis, and you don’t want to see them in jail/prison vote for the TOP-DOWN leader that will push for proper legislation.
      Bernie is the ONLY one who will champion our cause. Clinton is as bad as Christie.

    8. Mark I. says:

      Cannabis has a reasonable safety quotient better than all current studies combined. Malpractice insurance premiums should lessen and quality of life decisions become more clear due to an end to prohibitive energies fogging up the view.

    9. lockedoutoftheshed says:

      living proof here! I have had a number of surgeries in my adult life …back, neck, hernia repairs…. I saved my insurance company a lot of money by consuming cannabis after 90% of them. was not a lot either.. every couple three hours it was puff, puff and , it was all good. screw pain meds!!kept me in the perfect state of mind! yea, I still had pain but, my mind did not dwell on it and I was able to function normally, get out of bed and begin walking per doctors orders. cannabis has benefitted me in many ways in the thirty two years that I have consumed it. I believe in its power for mind and soul!!!

    10. TheOracle says:

      I sure hope Pennsylvanians don’t get a screwing by the prohibitionists.

      Breaking News, see below!


      A vote on legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania could come as early as Monday.

      The state House has scheduled a vote on Senate Bill 3, which passed overwhelmingly in May, and which Gov. Tom Wolf has said he would sign.

      Still, medical marijuana supporters are worried about what a final bill will look like — dozens of members of the more conservative House have indicated they will propose amendments to the Senate-passed bill, which was authored by state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon.

      Folmer’s bill, which would allow medical marijuana to treat about a dozen conditions and allow a large growing and distribution network, has been embraced by groups that have waged a years-long push for medical marijuana. These includes parents of children with severe seizures, and people, including veterans and their advocates, who want access to medical marijuana to treat chronic pain.

      But now they fear changes such as the rumored amendment that would cap the level of the active ingredients of medical marijuana.

      A House working group recently came up with a list of recommendations aimed at finding an acceptable middle ground.

      Some opponents of medical marijuana fear it will provide a gateway to illegal drug use. Supporters argue that hasn’t been the case in the 23 states that allow medical marijuana.

      Medical marijuana supporters in the House include state Rep. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, a former federal drug enforcement agent who argues many suffering Pennsylvanians, including cancer patients, need access to medical marijuana.

      Prominent Republican opponents include House Speaker Mike Turzai of Allegheny County.

      Earlier this week, the House rules committee passed the bill by a 25-8 vote, with ten of the committee’s 18 Republicans voting yes.